Vermont Rail Trails

Dog Sledding

An individual riding a dog sled

Dog Sledding on the Vermont Rail Trails

Experience a unique adventure into Vermont’s winter wonderland. The Vermont rail trails are open to mushing! Mushing, or dog sledding, is an interactive outdoor experience that’s thrilling for all ages. Like snowmobiling, you can run dog sleds on multi-use trails on state lands. Dog sledding is permitted on all four state owned and maintained rail trails. Rail trails are groomed for winter use by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers or VAST (Delaware & Hudson rail trail, Lamoille Valley rail trail, Missisquoi Valley rail trail ) and the Memphremagog Trails Group (Beebe Spur rail trail).

A person riding a dog sled

What is a Rail Trail?

Rail trails are multi-purpose, public paths created from former railroad corridors. Flat or following a gentle grade, they traverse Vermont’s downtowns, villages, and rural countryside. Ideal for bicycling, walking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, equestrian and wheelchair use, rail trails are extremely popular for recreation and transportation. Since the 1960s, more than 26,000 miles of rail trails have been created across the United States.

A person riding a dog sled

How Do I Find a Rail Trail to Ride?

All four trails are groomed by volunteers. Questions about conditions and trail grooming on the DHRT, LVRT, or MVRT? These trails are groomed by local snowmobile clubs as part of the VAST snowmobile trail system. The snowmobile season runs from December 16th to April 15th, when there is enough snow. Refer to the VAST snowmobile trail system page during the season for details. Questions about conditions and trail grooming on the BSRT? This trail is groomed for xc skiing by volunteers from the Memphremagog Trails Group. Refer to the Memphremagog Trail Winter Grooming Report page during the season for details. Questions about mushing with a Tour Group? For more information on mushing and tours, visit Dog Sledding | Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and Things to Do | Vermont Tourism.

A person in an orange vest riding a dog sled

Trip Planning

Safety

Rail trails can be busy thoroughfares on weekends or near trailheads. The most common cause of accidents is riders colliding, so keep your distance and slow down when passing other trail users. Give a clear warning and SLOW DOWN before passing other trail users. All users should operate at a reasonable and safe speed and should slow down when engaging in passing maneuvers, especially when passing other use types.

More information on Safety and Trail Etiquette are on the Vermont State rail trails System website Etiquette – Vermont rail trails.

Parking

Information on formal parking can be found on the Vermont rail trails maps. Overnight parking is an option with permission at some trailheads. For more information, contact the rail trails Program Manager.

Happy dogs pulling a dog sled

Rules and Regulations

Allowed Uses

The Vermont rail trails are open to non-motorized uses, with the exception of snowmobiles, motorized wheelchairs, and authorized maintenance vehicles. You’re sharing the trail with others, so be a good ambassador!

Pass & Yield Guidelines

  • Stay to the right of the trail except when passing.
  • Yield to the slowest users, and yield to livestock and other animals.
  • In the winter, yield to snow machines.
  • In other seasons, yield to horses.

Clear communication is key! Give a clear warning and SLOW DOWN before passing other trail users. All users should operate at a reasonable speed and should slow down when engaging in passing maneuvers, especially when passing other use types.

Two people riding two dog sleds
Two individuals nordic skiing the rail trail system
Two children biking on the LVRT
A family walking on the Rail Trails
A person biking during a sunset
Vermont Rail Trails*** July 2, 2024